I have been playing with VDI recently. It’s an interesting concept that is as old as the hills. For this specific application I’m trying to coax an old DOS application to continue working well past it’s sell by date. I have implemented a vsphere stack with a 2008 server along with a bunch of 32bit desktops for this single 16bit application. It seems overkill but it actually works well via RDP (with a carefully crafted window size.)
Whilst I was installing and configuring the server it reminded me that there is minimal client side configuration required. In fact if the workstations were not being used to run Office and other thick apps I would consider using thin clients or some Linux variant to connect to the server. It’s a taste of the “good old days” when people liked to have their servers locked away in air conditioned rooms and accessed via green screen terminals.
To be fair this DOS application isn’t much more advanced than the old green screens. It seems a shame to waste modern hardware on such a beast but I’m advised that replacement costs are a minimum of 6 figures. As such a single box holding the server AND workstations (with suitable backup) is a cheap and dirty solution to running 16bit programs on 64bit hardware.